Enough is enough
Saturday, the EO ran a story informing the community about the multiple bomb threats that have occurred at the Pendleton Taco Bell recently. Ironically, two more threats occurred throughout the course of the weekend.
One took place Friday night and another Saturday afternoon. Upon further investigation into these threats, Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts informed us the original number of threats was incorrect. He said there now have been 14 bomb threats at Taco Bell since May.
As Taco Bell Manager Cory Branstetter said of the 14 threats within a span of about two and a half months, "This is getting ridiculous."
However, it's also getting dangerous.
Prior to Saturday's bomb threat, Roberts and Branstetter said the caller had always been a male. Saturday, following the printing of the story, a woman called and made the alleged threat.
Both Roberts and Branstetter now have something more to worry about - copycats.
Each threat, thus far, has resulted in an evacuation of customers and staff at Taco Bell. This is restaurant policy, Branstetter said.
"We put the safety of our customers and employees first," he added.
We applaud the efforts of Branstetter, the Pendleton Police Department and the Pendleton Fire Department for handling all of these threats in a safe and professional manner.
They have to treat each one as if it's a real bomb threat, and they should.
"We have to take each one seriously," Roberts said.
This is a perfect case of "The boy who cried wolf." However, there's a different spin on it. Branstetter is having a tough time preventing his employees from getting complacent when these calls occur. Also, some in the community are beginning to look at it as one big joke.
That's very dangerous because if the threat is real, and no one believes it, it can be catastrophic to the community.
In the event of a real threat, such as if a suspicious package is found, the whole area, not just Taco Bell, would have to be evacuated. That includes the bank next door, Wal-Mart, Safeway, Hollywood Video and all of the homes in the area. Roberts said it could even affect some businesses in Melanie Square.
In addition, all traffic would have to be diverted from the area, the Oregon State Police would have to be called, the Oregon Department of Transportation likely would need to assist in the effort and every single police officer and firefigher would need to be utilized.
Every threat is costly, to both the business and the community. When Taco Bell has to evacuate, they are losing business. When they turn their customers away - for their own safety - they are possibly losing future business. And when our police officers and firefighters are searching for a bomb, it's not only using up valuable resources, it's also taking them away from other potentially life-threatening calls.
But what about the emotional costs? Branstetter said he's had a couple of employees that didn't want to return to work following the threat. Many of us don't know what it's like to have to go through that.
It's time for people to grow up. This is not a joke and certainly not a laughing matter. These immature pranks need to stop.
Enough is enough.